+ inload: The Night before Ascension Day +

+ The plasma-forges have been burning brightly recently while I work on a commission model. Once finished, he'll show the First Master of the Ultramarines, Marius Gage, during the Calth Atrocity. +

+ Premise +

+ Marius Gage has been mentioned in passing in quite a few bits of Horus Heresy fiction. He's turned up in the artbook Visions of Heresy, where he bore more than a passing resemblance to Clint Eastwood (see left), and more recently, as a supporting character in Know No Fear. When I was discussing the piece initially, this was the image in my head of the character. 

+ However, the version of Gage that I'm working on is based on what I presume is a starring role in Macragge's Honour, the Black Library graphic novel about the Ultramarines' pursuit of Kor Phaeron's flagship following the Battle of Calth. I say presume as I haven't had the pleasure of reading it! For my reference while working on this model, I've been using images including the one at the top of this inloadpost, culled from review sites. +

+ Design specifics and planning +

+ When planning a model based on artwork, I tend to start by identifying two or three distinguishing features of the character, and then building out my interpretation. In the graphic novel, Marius Gage has a very distinctive suit of tactical dreadnought armour which combines elements of the familiar Terminator armour (I want to call it Indomitus pattern, but I'm not sure about that) with the layered shoulder plates of the distinctively Heresy-era Cataphractii suits. 

+ However, more distinctive than the armour as a whole is his golden helmet/face plate, which is reminiscent of Greek death masks. 

+ The head +

The Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard helmets were an obvious starting point, but the style of the face is different from the more modern, renaissance-inspired Blood Angels. 

+ The Blood Angels' helmets have definite stern expressions and (at the back at least) looser, more naturalistic hair – as in the statue to the left. 

+ In contrast, Gage's helm is stiff and formal, like archaic Greek statuary (see image left), particularly with its blank, expressionless appearance and formal rows of hair. 

+ I'm only partway through the greenstuff work on the head, but I started by drilling a hole in the neck and gluing it temporarily to a piece of wite. I then trimmed away the asymmetrical cables from the cheeks and the halo, before filing the brow ridge and dome of the head down just a little. This last stage is important to stop the hair that's added later from sitting too high on the head. +

+ With the head prepared, I added lenses to the eyes (these are blank holes in the original, for some reason), then added cables to either side. Starting from the front of the head, I then added a row of tiny balls of putty. These were pressed down flat in turn to form the hairline, before I used a sculpting tool to cut a slit in the front of each to form a neat row of chevrons. I repeated the process behind the first row, adding three more rows. This is so that the pieces of hair overlay each other. 

+ This was then allowed to cure. I'll go back later to smooth over the brow to get that impassive archaic appearance, and to add the distinctive cheek pieces that will thicken the head and make it look more brutal and dangerous. +

+ Pose, character and context +

+ Perhaps the most important thing about any model is the pose. Since they're so small, a bad pose can rob the miniature of any impact or attraction, reducing it to an action figure. It's also a great way to get across character. The source artwork I could find in Macragge's Honour seems to show Gage in combat most of the time, but I wanted to get across the nobility of the Ultramarines in Gage, who is first amongst equals. In addition, it's important to remember where he'll be seen. The chap who this Gage is destined for has the most immense (and impressive!) collection of Ultramarines, and Gage needs to stand out as a figurehead, and focal point for the army.

+ I had a very strong image of the character, and wanted to get the parts just right to help sell the model as a unique figure, and not as a kitbash or conversion. As a result, the rest of Gage is made up of an eclectic selection of bits, sourced as bits at the customer's expense – and very generous he was, which allowed me to make Gage just as I wanted. +

+ The body +

+ The legs and torso are taken from two Forge World characters – Ivanus Enkomi of the Minotaurs, and Lufgt Huron of the Astral Claws. These both come with the torso and legs as one piece, so I softened them in hot water before cutting straight through with a sharp craft knife. I picked these two because they both have interesting but not overwhelming detail on the parts. The source artwork has Gage's armour almost plain, but in the context of the army, that was going to look too simple.

+ Huron's torso has some Hellenic waist plates, crenellated collar and braid. These details don't obscure the basic form of the Terminator plate, which is important. Enkomi's legs have some great filigree, layered pteruges (the leather loincloth flaps) and nice rivetting that matched the arms I had in mind. The Minotaur symbol on his left leg was obviously too identifiable, so this was trimmed down with a craft knife, leaving the basic shape. I then carefully cut around the remainder to form an Ultramarines legion symbol. This trimming isn't something I see a lot of people do, but my attitude is that it's better to use existing detail as a basis for your work, as it'll always look more naturally integrated into the piece. 

+ The legs were also reposed in near-boiling water – this is a quick trick to help hide the source of the original models, which in turn helps sell the miniature as unique, rather than a kitbash.

+ The arms come from different sources – the left is Abaddon's, and the right from the Terminator-armoured Praetor. Again, identifying Legion iconography was removed from Abaddon's shoulder plate and adapted into the basis for the Legion symbol. Pleasingly, parts of the original decoration could be incorporated into the greenstuff work, giving Gage a Legion symbol that pays homage to his Terran birthworld (the lightning bolts):

+ The component parts were dry-fitted, then drilled and had pins added. I confess I don't always do this for my own models, but I think it's only right for a commission piece. The sword you can see below is from the Mark II or III weapon upgrade set, I think. 

+ Initial assembly and base +

+ Holding aloft the laurels of victory, Marius Gage accepts the Compliance of another world. +

+ A few spots of superglue later, and the First Master is standing tall and proud on a resin base. I've done a quick pre-paint on this as I've found it gives depth to the tone after spraying; and helps to make the figure 'pop' a little more. +

+ He's not quite finished yet, but assuming the buyer is happy with the initial structure, I'll be going back to tidy up and sharpen the initial greenstuff work. After that, a quick prime and I'll be getting stuck into the painting. However, that'll now wait until after Christmas, as I'm going to have a nice relaxing break! +

+ I'd love to hear any feedback, questions or suggestions for this piece before I declare him ready for paint, so please do feel free to post anything you like below. +

+ And with that parting shot, let me simply wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Here's to 2015. +

+ inload: Brother Ykypanipo, Nightmarcher +

And I was, as it were, turned into a dove/so that my arms were pinioned like a bird/Seizing me, he led me down to the dark house, the dwelling of Yrkla/to the House where those who enter do not come out/along the road of no return/to the House where those who dwell do without light/where dirt is their drink, their food is of clay/where, like a bird, they wear garments of feathers/and light cannot be seen, they dwell in the dark/and upon the door and bolt lies dust/
– The Red Dream of the Nightmarchers

+ Forget the power of technology, science and common humanity. +

Forget the promise of progress and understanding. +

+ There is no peace amongst the stars. +

+ Only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods. +

+ For the galaxy is a big place and, whatever happens, you will not be missed... +

+ inload: Attend the forge +

+ A busy weekend left me with small periods of downtime. Fifteen minute periods scattered here and there through the day are not great for painting beyond basecoating, but it's fantastic for building models and sculpting details. Fifteen minutes is just enough time to mix up some putty, build a model, and then use the putty to sculpt on some details and fix any holes. +

+ These six marines have been given a pre-prime. I do this to helps pot any bits that are popping out as wrong once all the different colours – one of the downsides of using multiple colours of metal, resin and plastic, plus scavenging bits off old models – have been cleared out with grey. +

+ The downside of these short stints is that if you do get called away, it's easy to miss a stage. The marine with a heavy bolter here hasn't had the 3D printing lines filed away on his shoulder pad, so I'll need to get in there with a needle file before I start to paint. +

+ While work on the Ultramarines (above) continued steadily, the bulk of my hobby time was taken up with a Raven Guard marine for the Bolter and Chainsword's March of the Legions project. This is focussing on a different legion every month, working backwards from XX (Alpha Legion) to I (Dark Angels). While I've only done two marines so far, it's been a great opportunity to try out some unusual ideas and techniques. Here's a preview of the Raven Guard, Brother Ykypanipo, Nightmarcher. +

+ inload: The Avenging Son continued +

+ Work continues on Guilliman. I finished construction on Sunday night: 

+ A couple of people have asked for a run-down of the parts used, so here we go:
  • +Backpack+  Vulkan's, plus additional bits from a backpack from the Rapier set (targeter/sensor thing plus additional vents) and a vexilla from Forge World's Mark II command set.
  • +Torso+  Ferrus Manus' with greenstuff lower abdomen.
  • +Arms and hands+  Vulkan's. The left arm has a scanner from the Volkite Caliver set. The right hand (and sword) is from the Grey Knight Terminator set, with some GS to sharpen up the detailing. Not sure about this... tempted to find a different, more distinctive sword.
  • +Shoulder pads+  Privateer Press' Vlad, from the Warmachine line. These took quite a bit of filing and ProCreate to get to fit right! The leather straps are from Vulkan, and the Ultramarine symbol is from Marneus Calgar.
  • +Legs+  Vulkan's; reposed with hot water. The scabbard is from Sevrin Loth's Honour Guard, I think. The pistol's grip is from an old Inquisitor scale weapon pack, and the body of it is from a limited edition figure from the now-defunct AT-43 line. The grenades are from FW – the holstered Phobos boltpistol pack.
  • +Head+  Vulkan's, with greenstuff hair.
  • +Base+  Ferrus Manus', with a bit of modification to fit the rubble to the reposed legs.
+ I hasten to add at this point that Vulkan was a prize, and I managed to snag Ferrus cheap on ebay. The remaining bits were mostly in my bits box. I imagine I'd be rather less extravagant if I were buying all the bits new! +

+ Here's a few shots from various directions. Note that the hilt of the sword had snapped off between priming and photography. It's since been replaced – and pinned! +

+ The scaling seems to work fairly well. Here's a picture of Guilliman next to one of his men:

+ Taking the base height into account, the marine's eye level is roughly on par with Guilliman's torso, which seems about right. +

+ Painting +

+ With a one-off model like this, I thought I'd just treat myself, so I got stuck straight into painting the face. Before I began, I added a base layer to the armour around the neck. There's quite a recess here, and I didn't fancy the prospect of getting paint in there once the face was done! +

+ The whole head – face, hair and neck – was built up starting with a wet tonal base slapped on – in this case, a mix of an olive green (a Vallejo colour, I think 'russian tank crew' or similar) and Vallejo Dark Red. The GW equivalents would be Catachan Green and Scab Red or similar. 

+ While wet, I dropped in touches of GW Dark Flesh to the recesses and neck, and pulled the paint about a bit with the brush to remove any flat planes. Next, I used a damp brush to lift away some paint from highlight areas and left it to dry.

+ Once dry, I used various combinations of Vallejo Dark Red, Vallejo White and GW Golden Yellow to build up the skin, using dilute mixes so that the previous layers showed through a little. I find this the best way to get a sense that the flesh is organic, as it gives the paint depth and translucency. Placement here is important – look at a friend (or yourself) to get the areas of colour right. For example, the back of the neck is typically browner than the front, and the cheeks, nose and tips of the ears will be slightly redder than the forehead and sides of the face. Keep this subtle, and err towards a slightly pale yellow skintone at this stage.

+ I then added a touch of yellow to white to make a very pale cream, and used this to paint the eyes and teeth. Once dry, I added a little Mordian blue to the darker skintone mixes on my palette. This makes a blue-grey (and also ties in with the armour, making a coherent palette) which I used to redefine the eyelids and glaze the beard area. Since Guilliman's blond, I made sure this was pretty subtle. The creamy colour was lightly drybrushed onto the hair at this point in two or three passes, each gradually covering less of the hair area – the sides and back should be darker than the top, so give the top more layers.

+ Using either a very dilute red mix or a a red glaze (I used GW's Bloodletter Glaze), build up the colour in the cheeks and lower lip with repeated applications. Work gradually. The colour will build up, and it's better to do it over a long time than have to remix the base colour if you go too rosy. 

+ Beyond this, it's simply working with washes to get an expression. Use the tip of a fine brush to touch in the pupils of the eyes with a dark (near but not quite black) mix, then apply washes (I used GW's Devlan Mud) using the tip of the same brush. Washes don't have to be sloshed over. Using them in small areas lets you build up slightly dirty detailing in creases, wrinkles and areas like under the cheekbones to give a battleworn feel. 

+ With the face complete – currently, at least; I might return to tweak it – I painted the armour with Mordian Blue and gave it a wash of Asurmen Blue. This'll be the basecoat over which I'll build up the rest. +

+ inload: Primarch WIP +

+ Last night I arrived home to find the parts for my new version of Guilliman had arrived, so I got stuck in. My older version (above) depicts Guilliman during the Hypon campaign (a home-made campaign set at the height of the Great Crusade), but with Forge World's release of Primarch models, I've had plans to build a new version using those as a basis. 

+ Forge World doubtless have plans for their own version of Guilliman. I'll likely get a copy when he's released (such... fanboy...), but before he appears, I'm really keen to get my current vision of Guilliman down before I'm influenced by Forge World. The older version was built before the Ultramarines had had any coverage in the Horus Heresy series, so I was very free indeed. This was great in creating my own character, but now there's a bit more information, I'd like to see where I can take the character with a little more direction. +

Old and new Guilliman

+ This shot shows that I wasn't a million miles off the 'official' size, which was interesting to note. When I built the first version, that size was about the maximum I was happy with given the limits of the parts available – particuarly the head, which is superhero comic proportions (i.e relatively small) and which, even taking into account the exaggerated scale of GW/FW's miniatures, is verging on slightly pin-headed. The access to new Primarch-scaled parts meant that parts should be a lot easier to source and scale comfortably. +

+ The conversion is based on Ferrus Manus' torso on Vulkan's legs. These are two of the largest Primarchs in terms of both background and model size. Guilliman doesn't have a huge amount of description in terms of size except for being slightly shorter than the Lion, stockier than Lorgar, and smaller than Angron (and by extension, Vulkan and Ferrus). However, given the slightly larger size of my marines, I think the basic structure works. 

+ Nevertheless, I've trimmed down Vulkan's legs to remove a little of the bulk, and used Ferrus' torso – slightly slimmer than Vulkan's, an effect I've exaggerated by extending the waist. This should help to give my version of Guilliman an upright but slighter silhouette than both of the donor figures. 

+ When converting, I like to hide the stock models as much as possible. This was part of the reasoning behind using Vulkan's legs: they're in a more neutral position than Ferrus' very distinctive hammer-swinging pose. This neutral pose meant that it was easier to heat and bend them into a different position – in this case stepping upwards. This is complemented by the torso, twisted in the opposite direction to both donor models to further hide the source. My pal Bob_Hunk pointed out that Guilliman is about 'stepping up to responsibility', rather than looking down on his men – a description I thought really captured his character, so I'm glad I was able to show this through his pose.

+ Similarly, I've carefully trimmed away almost all of the Legion detailing from both donors. This will be replaced with Ultramarine-themed material; probably mostly during painting, as I'm more confident there than with sculpting. +

+ This shot shows the Primarch next to one of my marines. I think the height and proportion work quite nicely. One thing I'm not sure about is the shoulder pads. Do I give him the segmented ones shown above, the iconic round pauldrons of Space Marines (shown below), or something more elaborate? I'm also unsure on asymmetry. I could have different shoulder pads, but I'm erring towards identical ones to get that idea of 'perfect balance' which I think is important to Guilliman. I'm open to ideas, so please let me know what you think. +

+ These shots show a little of the remaining detailing. Vulkan's kneepad had XVIII (his Legion number) on it. I trimmed the numbers off, then replaced them to read XIII (the Ultramarines' legion number).

+ The back of the legs shows the similarity to mark II Crusade Armour. I love this detail. The sculptor's love for the background really shows through. +

+ As described, here's the round shoulder pauldron. They ones I use as standard on my marines fit quite comfortably here. They're arguably a bit oversized on my marines, but I like the broad surface they give, and the great bowl evokes the round shields of Ancient Greek warfare, which I really like. One big plus for choosing this pauldron option is that the size difference between Guilliman and his men gets an obvious reference. I'm leaning towards these, perhaps with the addition of some leather strapping hanging down to draw the eye and increase the apparent size. +

+ I've retained a lot of the lightning bolt decoration, as this seems to be universal amongst the Primarchs. In altering the models to create Guilliman, I think I'll have to be careful to make sure he ends up both as decorated as his brethren, but not over-elaborate. Guilliman strikes me as inspiring, but practical. +

+ So, there's Guilliman so far. If you've got any thoughts on his armament, pose choice of pauldrons, or anything else, please let me know. +


+ Finally, don't forget the Vessel of Ages project – see inload C: +[noospheric inload link: http://apologentsia.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/inload-c-post-one-hundred-you-may-have.html +

+ inload: Alpharius III +

+ It's been a while since I built and painted an Alpha Legion marine. I've made two in the past, but they have since exfiltrated the house and zipped into the Warp to the planet of Youessay. This chap is on his own for the moment (and likely to remain so for the immediate future). +

+ Built for a group project on The Bolter & Chainsword forum +[noospheric inload link: http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/298727-march-of-the-legions-xx-legion/]+, he was painted up fairly quickly – a nice change of pace from my more considered Ultramarines. +

+ One-off models like this are a great excuse to try out new techniques. I thought I'd have a go at getting a subtle metallic sheen to the armour. Primed black, I painted the armour with boltgun metal and used the blue and green GW washes. These go a little blotchy, but that's fine at this stage: 

Apologies for the grainy shot. Very Alpha Legion, but not particularly clear!
+ While wet, I ran purple and black washes into the shadows and recesses, allowing the colours to merge and blend on the surface. The result was acceptable, but not quite how I wanted it – not enough staining power, and I was concerned repeated washes to strengthen the colour would end up with a very messy or glossy effect. That's not always unwelcome, but not what I wanted here. 

+ In the end, I used a glaze of Asurmen(?) blue (the equivalent to the old Enchanted Blue), thinned with plenty of Winsor & Newton acrylic medium, to cover the armour. This left just enough of the underlying colour to show through. Taking inspiration from Migsula's seminal Legion project +[noospheric inlaod link: http://legionofplastic.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/three-new-alpharius-done.html]+, I added a highlight made of Vallejo Model white, Yriel Yellow (the equivalent to the old Bad Moon Yellow) and a touch of the glaze mix on the palette was used to add shaping and highlights. This was all fairly messy and quick, but great fun. +

+ Part of the appeal of the XXth Legion is their dubious loyalties, but I always like to look at Astartes as soldiers first and foremost – and thus in uniform – and their specific legion character second. For that reason, and because it's fun to add character through freehand, I added the old Legion symbol (the chained capital alpha). On the frontal details, you'll also see some lightning bolts emerging from behind the pouches. Do these obscure the Emperor's sigil of a Raptor's head on crossed thunderbolts? What would that imply?

+ I think Alpha Legionaries look good with lots of equipment – they've got an aesthetic that's slightly more realistic than some other Legions – so I added a pack from the Cadian (possibly Catachan?) heavy weapon sprue. This had some smoke grenades on. To give a slightly sinister edge to Alpharius, I added some biological warning marks to the canisters...

+ The gritty, practical nature of the Legion lends it a slightly Rogue Trader-era feel, which I played on by adding a boltgun weapon marking on his right pauldron (the small logo on the left of the picture), and a classic 'Kil' on the holster (scabbard?) of his auxiliary knife. A white helmet stripe finished the RT freehand homages. Of note is that I used the same creamy white on the pouches as on the boltgun marking. Using pure white is very eye-catching, so that was reserved as a highlight for the helmet stripe. The stripe itself was established with the cream mix, allowed to dry, and then thinned white added. While wet, I quickly drew the edge of my fingernail over it in a couple of places. I've found this a quick way to add relatively clean scrapes and marks, which adds to the atmosphere. +

+ The eye should work up the front leg, along the ammo bandolier, up the light-coloured pouches, over the white stripe on the head (primary focus) and then follow the gaze down the arm, past the boltgun marking to the boltgun itself (secondary focus). The kill markings on the boltgun are another RT touch, and give the eye something to rest on at this secondary focal point. 


+ The project asked for a model and some accompanying background. I didn't want to focus too much on the individual (not really the legion's 'thing'), so I wrote the following. I hope you enjoy it.+

The Tongueless War

For the simple reason that no-one was there, no-one saw the Legion arrive. No-one saw the Legion leave, because by that point, there was no-one left alive.


One of the many thousands of counter-Compliance actions undertaken by the Treacher-Legions during the Horus Heresy, the Mos Cumbra campaign – later to enter Inquisitiorial annals as the Tongueless War – saw the Alpha Legion attacking the isolated loyalist garrison on the dustbowl world of Mos Cumbra.

Information on the campaign, as with almost all Alpha Legion actions, is difficult to confirm as absolutely true or false. However, the following information provides the basic overview of the campaign with which supplicants for the rank of interrogator are presented before they are asked to analyse the events and provide their own conclusions.

Isolated since M31.969, the loyalist elements were likely completely unaware of the events unfolding in the rest of the galaxy. While the Alpha Legion's aims remain ambiguous, it seems likely that their intention was to advise the Imperial garrison that they were to be relieved, then overwhelm them as they redeployed.

Beyond acting as a stepping stone into the distant Clarion Stars, the dusty planet had little strategic value. Nevertheless, the short-lived campaign seems to have been one of dirty, scrappy and unsatisfactory action as the mercurial XXth deployed against isolated bands of warriors every bit as resourceful and adaptable as themselves.

Arriving with a full broadcast, the Alpha Legion's attempt to contact the garrison received no acknowledgement. As their infiltrated reconnaissance forces failed to find the garrison, the expedition was gradually forced to prevaricate, broadcasting increasingly less likely scenarios to explain their delayed landing, all of which fell on a seemingly empty vox. Before the delays could become unreasonably suspicious, the Alpha Legion were obliged to deploy. With Imperial banners a-flutter at their declared landing position, the Alpha Legionaries found no-one present to meet them.

Contact was likely made on the thirteenth day. An Alpha Legion recon patrol failed to report. Four were never seen again, and the remaining member was found bound and null-hooded two days later in the Meretrician desert, dozens of miles from their last known point of contact. On recovery, the Legionary was found to be thrall-tranced, incapable of action beyond reciting a coded message. Analysis using the embedded Imperial idents – old but valid – allowed the XXth to recover a simple, stark warning: Leave. Stay Away.


Galled into action – or perhaps simply intrigued by a foe seemingly able to see through his ruse so completely – Lieutenant Commander Lasko ordered deployment on a war footing, with simple orders to engage and destroy any forces on the planet, regardless of their provenance.

Radiating from the Lin Plateau, where their colleague had been recovered, the Alpha Legion gradually met pockets of increasing resistance. Cloaked by squally dust-storms, Astartes groups ranging from in size from small units to full strike forces began to harry the Alpha Legion columns over the following month; each fading into the scything dust as the Alpha Legion turned to meet them.

The assailants remained unidentified until the fortieth night of sporadic fighting. A group was finally surrounded and brought to bay around an abandoned settlement, where they were forced to hole up. Slowly but surely, the Alpha Legion company identified and closed potential escape routes as the dawn drew closer, even as they fought off rescue attempts from other groups of the mysterious ambushers. Lasko had been surprised by the enemy's willingness to combat his forces – but was more concerned by their apparent ability to do so effectively. He had anticipated that the experiences of the Isstvan campaign would give his troops the edge, but reported casualties seemed to be remarkably even, especially taking into account the Alpha Legion's frustrating ability to recover seemingly confirmed kills.

At last, the Alpha Legion showed their consummate skill in their assault on the town, seemingly dropping resistance at two projected lines of retreat, then launching their assault. The unknown force broke for freedom – not through the most obviously weakened, but through the other. This was a fatal mistake. Lasko's double bluff ensured the swift defeat and capture as the Astartes broke through a weak first line before hitting a tangle of Legion killzones, where they were swiflty bracketed and destroyed. Inexplicably identified as VI and VIII Legion troops, Lasko was baffled. The Nostroman and Fenrisian warriors had famously had an antagonistic relationship throughout the Crusade. What had alloyed the groups together so effectively – and further, why were they holding so furiously against 'Imperial' relief?


With the dead deserts broken only by sibilant vox hisses and wordless snarls, the so-called Tongueless War proved short. Hopelessly outnumbered by the Alpha Legion, and with no support, the enemy force was ground down in isolated pockets. Records of the war are understandably patchy; being pieced together from Alpha Legion propaganda and records of the Mos Cumbrans themselves. This is particularly so for the final events of the war. They are known to have involved a parley – in some accounts, a surrender – on the part of a Captain of the VIII Legion named Hestor Raal. Records of such a figure are not found in Imperial records, though a similar name elements are known in records of the Night Lords prior to the Heresy; and it is entirely possible that the notoriously poor communications of the VIIIth simply failed to report his enrollment into the legion.

If such a meeting did occur, and Lieutenant Commander Lasko attended personally, it seems possible only on one pretext – that the Alpha Legion were offered something they could not resist: information. A delegation of XXth Legion serfs was reported to have gathered at an otherwise unremarkable point in the Whispering Galleries three days prior to the end of the war, an action interpreted by most Inquisitorial staff as an Alpha Legion deployment to answer a call from the hitherto silent VIth-VIIIth legion force. The cloak of silence resumed immediately, and the delegation were returned apparently unharmed to their initial drop-point.

This must have been a point of concern for Lasko, as the drop point would have been studiously hidden – likely double-blindly. Faint encrypted broadcast records drawn from the Legion vessel identified as Epsilon – recovered in M38 as part of the scuttled space hulk The Cell of Revulsion – indicate that a second offer of parley was made. Inquisitorial reports suggest it is possible that Lieutenant Commander Lasko, astutely attended by a large group of veteran Legionaries, met with a tattered handful of survivors. The evidence is scanty: a single vid-capture shows a group of Astartes in dust-scoured ceramite, armed Legion serfs and thralls, and Terran Invigilators. The otherwise unremarkable image was initially assumed to show an Alpha Legion cell, but a single figure, mostly obscured by a Legionary, is shown in Mos Cumbran native attire.

Further analysis of the image reveals an identifiably Nostroman Astartes – the sclera of his eyes are black and wormed through with blue veins; the latter detail discounting photofilter lenses known to be in use by the XXth. Coupled with this image is a tantalising vox-record. Tenuously chrono-synced to the period, we hear a badly distorted voice broadcast on Astartes' battle-frequencies, apparently replying to an introduction.

'Is it so? I must conf-[DISTORTED]-ressing a Primarch is [DISTORTED]-easure – even if he has suffered the humiliating dimini[DISTORTED]-o the rank of Lieutenant Comma-[DISTORTED].' A mnemo-scan reveals a slip of black humour at this point; though the regret that becomes apparent in the speaker's voice is clear even to the non-psychic.

'[DISTORTED]-both know h-[DISTORTED]-remain unsurprised by the Throne's actions; though my Fenrisian colleagues continue to protest that a sanct[DISTORTED]-in itself be sanctioned. Let my final report [DISTORTED]-ders were completed. The Clarion Stars [DISTORTED]-Compliant.'

Whether these intriguing events are in fact related to the so-called Tongueless War is largely irrelevant in terms of when it came to an end; but it is recorded as one of the final campaigns in which the Night Lords fought as loyalists – however unknowingly. Such is the divisive effect of the Alpha Legion's modus operandi: the effects of treachery are often far-reaching; and ripples have a nasty habit of returning to disturb the initial actor...


+ So much for the Alpha Legion – next month it's the Raven Guard's turn. Let me know what you think of the XXth, and I'll leave you with a reminder of the Vessel of Ages idea from yesterday:

1) Build and paint a single model – anything at all, from a starship to a lost villager – to personify your blog. Have fun working out what your blog would be if it were a miniature. Post it up to your blog and share the fun!

Once that's done...

2) Pick a blog that you follow and create a model to personify that blog – again, work out what that blog would be if it were a miniature. Once you're finished, please get in contact with the blog's owner(s) and send it over in the post as a gift to the community.

+ All voluntary, of course, but I hope you'll help to spread the word and have some fun with your blog. +

+ inload: C +

+ Post one hundred! You may have noticed that I've been a little quiet over November, and that's because I've been wracking my synapses to come up with something suitable for post one hundred. Following is a (mercifully) brief look over the blog's past, some thoughts for the next hundred posts, and finally a little project which I hope you'll be inspired to join in with. +

+ The first hundred +

+ Firstly, let me thank you for reading this blog. At the time of writing, the blog has had 25,013 views, and 63 people (or cunningly disguised clones/synthetics/Vanus temple assassins) following me. It's great to have a space to post my pontifications, and really nice to interact with you all. Thanks for joining me on this – occasionally discursive – ride.

+ The first post was published on the 4th September 2013, and detailed a group of characters from the 41st Millennium I planned to develop, build and paint. As of now, I have completed none of them... The vexatious scribe, who I have at least built, is still on my desk, awaiting inspiration.

+ Since the beginning, the blog has seen posts about Black Cutter orks, Eldar from Iyanden, various groups of Imperial Guardsmen, soldiers from Infinity, lunatic priests from Immoren, stoic space marines and various other dwellers across space, time and the dimensions. 

+ Having a little space on the noosphere to share my thoughts has provided a little repository of paint recipes to which I can refer (I hope some of you have found my thoughts useful), as well as a space for some background and battle reports. +

+ The next hundred +

+ So, what's next? Essentially, more of the same. My aim for the next 100 posts is to get the Ultramarines 'completed'. Very few of my projects are finished – I almost inevitably return to pull bits apart and rework them, or simply add to them – but I'd like to get the army to a state where I am content with every aspect. That'll be the aim for post CC.

+ Secondly, I'd like to dig into the archives and finish off a couple of the Rubricist's group of the displaced – at last.

+ Thirdly, I'd like to get a bit more interaction going with the blog community. As well as some very welcome encouragement and guidance, I've got some great ideas and suggestions from you all, so I'll be making an effort to respond to every reply, and to hopefully give back a little of what you all offer. Cheers all – here's to another hundred posts. +

+ Finally +

+ The internet is a series of tubes, with traditions of which I am familiar 

+ As I understand things, it's traditional for blogs to set up little mini projects or competitions to mark significant posts. I could think of no better way to say thank you to the community than by injecting a little 'scrapcode' into the noosphere and get some activity going.

+ Given the prompt 'The Rubricist's Vessel of Ages', I invite you to:

1) Build and paint a single model – anything at all, from a starship to a lost villager – to personify your blog. Have fun working out what your blog would be if it were a miniature. Post it up to your blog and share the fun!

Once that's done...

2) Pick a blog that you follow and create a model to personify that blog – again, work out what that blog would be if it were a miniature. Once you're finished, please get in contact with the blog's owner(s) and send it over in the post as a gift to the community.

+ I hope this'll inspire some little community gifts and make some very happy Christmas/New Years for the recipients. Of course, it'd also be fantastic to see your work on your blogs, so please share and share alike :) +

+ Good luck, thanks for reading, and may the Omnissiah guide your hand! +